Duncan Grant artist

A little over 5 years ago, I wrote a chapter on a sequence of prints displaying their progression through subsequent states. I, at that time, had another set of prints which until this past week remained unattributed. By accident, I came across a painting from which the prints in my collection are taken.

#DuncanJamesCorrowrGrant (1885-1978) was born at Rothiemurchus in Scotland but resided for most of his young life in India. It was intended that he would have an army career but he chose to study art/painting. He studied at the Westminster School of Art, traveled to Italy where he studied the works of Masaccio, followed this by studying at Jacque-Emile Blanche’s school- La Palette in Paris and finally returning to study at the Slade School of Art.

He was friends with French artist Simon Bussy, was acquainted with Matisse as well as Picasso.

After his studies Grant set up a studio in Fitzroy Square in London. Grant was a member of an influential circle of artist, writers and critics called the ‘Bloomsbury Group’. The group consisted of Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, Roger Fry, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and Vanessa and Clive Bell.

The painting from which this set of six etching states is taken from is entitled ‘Bathing’. It was painted in 1911 under the theme ‘London on Holiday’ for the dining room of Borough Polytechnic, London. It presently hangs in the Tate, London.

Grant’s painting shows seven nude male figures inq the act of diving into the water, swimming to and clambering into a boat. They are seven individual figures and yet could be the movements of one person. His figures are based on his studying of Michelangelo’s nudes. The scene is of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. A site associated with London’s gay culture.

The painting was controversial at the time of it’s making due to it’s homoerotic implications.

I cannot say for sure that these etching were created by Grant or another of the Bloomsbury Group since they are unsigned but it would be a brave artist to create these without his permission. I have not found anything like these six ‘states’ on the web.

The progression through the states from fine lines to multicoloured displays a wondering mind and an artist willing to experiment with hue and tone.

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